What basketball game is the GOAT?

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What basketball game is the GOAT?

Postby LASquared on Sat May 12, 2018 1:18 pm

I'll start by saying this: NBA 2K14 isn't the GOAT. Both current- and next-gen.

The current-gen NBA 2K14 was essentially the same as NBA 2K13, except...
  1. the Dream Team and 2012 Team USA were removed
  2. you can only make one user profile (even if you made a separate one, going to MyPLAYER only shows the alphabetically last profile)
  3. the NBA 2K, 2K Sports, 2K China, and the VC team were gone (either because they had to make space for Euroleague teams or one of the players on the VC team died and was featured on the Credits screen)
  4. the home screen no longer links to your most recent Association (now it's just Quick Game and MyCAREER)
I'm sure there's more.

There's also golden text, a minor pet peeve that doesn't fit with the game's color scheme of blue. Options > Manage Roster > Rosters shows the players' names on white and golden text on black background on blue background.

The next-gen 2K14 on the other hand lacks basic features, like Create-a-Team. The heavily-advertised LeBron: Path to Greatness is also gone.

Then, the general consensus is NBA 2K11 is the GOAT. I don't think so.
  1. The menu sucks.
  2. The 2K Sports logo on the scoreboard and almost everywhere else is unprofessionally badly zoomed in.
  3. The CAP portraits suck. (Create a player on NBA 2K11 and look at its portrait. Compare that to an NBA 2K12 created player portrait.)
Gameplay-wise, there's two main things that bother me a lot: 1.) just like NBA 2K9, the movement is weird at best and nonsensical at worst. Sometimes it feels like you're ice skating, other times the player's just walking very slowly. 2.) instead of going straight to the rim, most players just shoot in the baseline or in the middle of the free throw line, if you hold the shoot button too early. IIRC, NBA 2K12-14 don't have this problem.

Many people say that "the little things" make NBA 2K11 great. But many of those are also in other games.
NBA 2K11's NBA Blacktop has the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, 3pt Shootout, Game of 21, and Pickup Games (1-on-1 until 5-on-5). It has everything NBA 2K9 has, except 2K11 doesn't have Dunk School, and the 2K11 3pt Shootout bar is horizontal, not vertical. NBA 2K12 also has those features.
dom2k mentions 2K11's VIP Viewer, which is also on NBA 2K12 (where you can choose between different user profiles to look at). NBA 2K14 also has a VIP Viewer as extensive as that, but only supports one user profile (named "My Profile.USR").

NBA 2K11 has the Jordan Challenge, which I don't care that much for. MJ: Creating a Legend is replicate-able on NBA 2K12/13's Create a Legend, in which you can just choose the Jordan from the '85-'86 Bulls and voila!

NBA 2K11 had the '97 Bulls and '97 Jazz, which were removed from future games because they were the same as the '98 ones except for the '97 Bulls ratings. 2K11 isn't the only game to have a historical team that doesn't exist in future games. NBA 2K13 had the '02 Kings, which NBA 2K14 didn't have.

I'll finish this later.
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Re: What basketball game is the GOAT?

Postby Murat on Sun May 13, 2018 5:47 am

Actually NBA 2K11 was praised because it was the best ever of its time.

Your post is accurate but it's kind of revisionist history. Considering the conditions at time, NBA 2K11 was the GOAT. It still is considered the GOAT pound by pund. The Jordan Challenge thing and retro teams were unimaginable (though tried by Konami back in 2004 with NBA Starting Five 2005 but the game was exclusive to Japan). Sending Jordan to 2010 with Creating a Legend mode was also nice. I remember playing Jordan with 2011 Knicks (pre-Melo with Amare).

2K13 had terrible menus with too much graphics. 2K12 was released during lockout.
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Re: What basketball game is the GOAT?

Postby Andrew on Tue May 15, 2018 10:23 pm

Nice idea for a topic, and certainly a tough question.

It's all too easy to cling to an old favourite that surpassed expectations and was a great release in its day, but has been surpassed at least in some ways by the games that followed it. The more years that go by, the more generations of hardware that come about, the greater the chance that at least one game has equalled or surpassed a great release due to improvements in technology and design concepts.

NBA 2K11 is one of the popular games to hold up as the best we've seen (at least among sim titles), and I do think that it holds up very well. In its time I think it was the pinnacle of sim basketball gaming, or at least a worthy contender for that title. There are at least a couple of games in the NBA 2K series that I think have surpassed it though, especially once right stick dribbling controls were added.

Something to keep in mind is that increased realism has been a bit of a shock for some sim basketball gamers. As I discussed in an article a while back, I'm not sure that everyone truly thought about what more realism meant, especially when it comes to not being able to do whatever you want, or have certain strategies succeed each and every time. Although there are still cheesy exploits in recent games, some of the old "video game strategies" aren't as reliable, which I think has been a rude awakening for some gamers. Likewise, some people probably prefer a bit more of a casual approach to the sim style, which was more common in older games that had less sophisticated AI and lower expectations in terms of realism.

The bar has been raised, and new games can't always live up to the hype, so we tend to fall back on the last game that thoroughly impressed us when we're trying to name the best title. There's also the matter of arcade basketball games, which tend to hold up a bit better than older sim games and have a different appeal. Do we throw all the basketball games into the mix, or do we separate them into the categories of Best Sim Title and Best Arcade Title? If they are all in their together, how do you compare them and pick the best when they each offer their own style of virtual basketball? Do you factor in how good a game was relative to the technology and expectations of the era, and how do you compare across generations of gaming tech?

Just some stuff to mull over as we try to name some contenders for the title.
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Re: What basketball game is the GOAT?

Postby Dee4Three on Wed May 16, 2018 2:36 am

Great thread.

I actually think the newer basketball games have some more unrealistic gameplay elements. Including but not limited to excessive clipping, questionable passing speeds/physics, cheese (as mentioned above), less authenticity, etc. When I say some of the newer, I'm more comparing this gen to last gen.

Personally, I think the GOAT of basketball video games comes down to a few things. What you personally enjoy the most, and what you think is the best well rounded title. I think those should be two separate categories.

For me, the most enjoyment came from NBA 2K14 (PC and Xbox ONE/PS4), NBA 2K17, NBA 2K9 and NBA 2K13. Yes, its that hard for me to decide. In regards to the most well rounded basketball game, I'd say it's a toss up between NBA 2K11 and NBA 2K17. This includes modes, playability after the new titles come out, overall gameplay, just overall appeal.

Andrew, you didn't give your opinion. If you can't narrow it down to one, could you narrow it down to 3 or 4?
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Re: What basketball game is the GOAT?

Postby [Q] on Wed May 16, 2018 3:24 am

Are we talking overall or "for its time" because Live 2005/06 as well as Live 2000 should be in the mix as well

Hell, I'd say Live 10 has a shot with its multitude of online modes and its DAILY roster updates.
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Re: What basketball game is the GOAT?

Postby Dee4Three on Wed May 16, 2018 5:20 am

[Q] wrote:Are we talking overall or "for its time" because Live 2005/06 as well as Live 2000 should be in the mix as well

Hell, I'd say Live 10 has a shot with its multitude of online modes and its DAILY roster updates.


Good point, especially in regard to Live 2000.

That's one of my favorite basketball games of all time. I had it for the PC, played it a ton.

Live 10 is probably my second favorite Live.
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Re: What basketball game is the GOAT?

Postby Andrew on Wed May 23, 2018 12:47 am

The overall/for it's time question is the main reason I don't have one definitive answer to the question. I feel like it has to be divided up into eras, because more modern releases are obviously technologically superior, but in terms of delivering a satisfying experience and given the capabilities of each generation, it's all relative.

For the 16-bit era, I'd suggest NBA Live 95, though I do prefer NBA Live 96 PC for its superior roster editing and modding capabilities. For the early 3D era, NBA Live 2000. For the PS2/Xbox era, I feel it's pretty much a tie between NBA Live 2005 and NBA Live 06. 360/PS3, I would probably say NBA 2K13. For the current generation, NBA 2K17 stands out to me, certainly as the game I've enjoyed the most if nothing else.

That's the sim-oriented titles. For basketball arcade games, I'd say NBA Jam Tournament Edition, NBA Hangtime, NBA Street Vol. 2, and NBA Jam: On Fire Edition for the aforementioned generations (I guess NBA Playgrounds is the best on the current generation by default). I think sim and arcade do have to be ranked separately, because they are such different experience, and older arcade games hold up a little better because they're not trying to be realistic. There's also been less of them because they aren't annual releases, and I could probably call NBA Jam: On Fire Edition the best arcade basketball game to date, taking all generations into account.
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Re: What basketball game is the GOAT?

Postby Dee4Three on Thu May 24, 2018 4:53 am

I think I miss the simplicity the most when it comes to games. Not simplicity as much in the gameplay elements (however, I do miss a little of that at times, because I believe many of the new games over-animate)... but more the modes in which people would play. Since online became the most "popular", not only has the gameplay taken a backseat, but the other modes themselves are not talked about/played enough.

It also seems that local play has basically been tossed aside (Local multiplayer), in favor of a dude/boy/girl/woman sitting in a room alone with a headset and mic talking to someone who could be 11 years old, or getting pissed at the Lag, or getting quit on by the opponent. Its disappointing to me, my best memories with my brothers is sitting in the same room playing local games and just having a blast. I feel like this is a problem with society as well, as a lot of people don't have the same social skills in person as they do online. Kid's are used to socializing, debating, arguing, laughing, making connections online as opposed to doing it in person.

Slight rant, but you see what I am getting at. Obviously it was smart for the video game companies to move in that direction, but I also think it has hurt some core parts of games. I'm lucky that myself and two brothers still get together and play seasons, still great whenever it happens. Pretty sure we will always do that.
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Re: What basketball game is the GOAT?

Postby The Human Highlight Film on Thu May 24, 2018 7:59 am

NBA 2K11 is the GOAT. Play a game in 2k14,2k13, 2k17 or 2k18 and then go play 2k11,it's an incomparable feeling.
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Re: What basketball game is the GOAT?

Postby Danimal on Thu May 24, 2018 8:07 am

The main problem with the current gen games is that game mechanics and animations still look and feel like old gen. 2K18 has the "EA" clay skin texture players and that ruins realism.

Out of the box or with a great set of sliders 2k11 is a blissful experience, even today.
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